Here’s the life of Mark David Chapman, who was convicted of murdering musician John Lennon.
Birthday date: May 10, 1955
Birth place: Fort Worth, Texas
Birth name: Mark David Chapman
Father: David Chapman, former US Air Force Sergeant
Mother: Diane Chapman, nurse
Marriage: Gloria (Abe) Chapman (June 1979-present)
Education: He attended DeKalb Junior College and Covenant College in Georgia
As has been documented in the press, Chapman is known for his obsessive devotion to “The Catcher in the Rye,” JD Salinger’s novel about adolescent alienation.
He suffers from depression and was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic by Dr. Bernard Diamond, a defense psychiatrist.
He started using drugs and skipping school during his freshman year of high school. This behavior ended when he turned 16 and he became a born-again Christian, as documented in the book “Let Me Take You Down: Inside the Mind of Mark David Chapman, the Man Who Killed John Lennon” by Jack Jones.
1971-1975 – He works as a counselor at the YMCA.
1977 – He buys a one-way ticket and flies to Hawaii. He tries to commit suicide due to carbon monoxide poisoning. After recovering, Chapman takes a job at the hospital where he was treated.
1978 – He takes a trip around the world.
1979 – Gloria marries Abe, the travel agent who helped her plan her trip around the world. Chapman quits his job at the hospital and takes a job as a security guard.
1980 – He reads a book about Lennon and is upset that Lennon has so much money.
October 23, 1980 – He quits his job as a security guard and passes himself off as “John Lennon”.
October 27, 1980 – He buys a .38 caliber revolver.
October 30, 1980 – He flies to New York. He can’t buy bullets, so he goes to Atlanta to get them, then back to New York. His wife convinces him to return home to Hawaii.
December 6, 1980 – He returns to New York.
December 8, 1980 – He spends the day outside the Dakota, the Central Park West apartment building in Manhattan where Lennon and his family live. Lennon’s 5-year-old son, Sean, meets his nanny and shakes her hand. He meets Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, as they are leaving their apartment. Lennon has signed a copy of his newly released album “Double Fantasy” for Chapman. Chapman stays out of the Dakota until Lennon and Ono return home. Chapman shoots Lennon four times in the back with a .38 caliber revolver. Chapman makes no attempt to escape; the gatekeeper disarms it. When the police arrive, Chapman is reading Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye.” Lennon is dead at Roosevelt Hospital.
December 9, 1980 – Chapman is charged with second-degree murder. After the trial, he was taken to Bellevue Hospital for psychiatric evaluation and placed under suicide watch.
June 22, 1981 – Chapman’s legal defense prepares to argue an insanity defense, but Chapman pleads guilty saying he received a message from God telling him to do so.
August 24, 1981 – Judge Dennis Edwards sentenced Chapman to 20 years in prison and recommended that Chapman undergo psychiatric treatment. Before sentencing, Chapman reads an excerpt from “The Catcher in the Rye.”
2000-2022 – He has been denied parole 12 times.